The Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, And Treatment (GRIT) Act

Jan 14, 2024

On January 12th 2024 U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas of Oregon introduced the Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act, a significant milestone in the fight against gambling addiction. This groundbreaking legislation addresses a critical gap in our nation’s approach to addiction by establishing the first-ever federal funding stream dedicated to preventing, treating, and researching gambling addiction in the United States.

Research conducted by the National Council of Problem Gaming (NCPG) indicates that the risk of gambling addiction rose 30 percent between 2018 and 2021, attributing much of that growth to the expansion of legalized gambling across the U.S., particularly following the removal of the ban on sports betting. Despite this increase, there are no federal funds dedicated to gambling treatment. Gambling addiction affects approximately 7 million American adults. The resulting social and economic impact s estimated at a staggering $7 billion annually.

Key provisions of the GRIT Act include allocating 50% of the current federal sports excise tax revenue for gambling addiction treatment and research. Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 75% of the funds would be distributed to states for prevention and treatment through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program, while the remaining 25% would go to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for research grants into gambling addiction. The legislation authorizes spending for ten years and mandates a report to Congress on the program’s effectiveness within three years of passage.

The GRIT Act provides direct and vital support to state health agencies and nonprofits addressing problem gambling, creating investment in best practices and comprehensive research at the national level. Importantly, it does not raise taxes or create additional bureaucracy, leveraging existing federal excise tax revenue and operating within the existing Health and Human Services framework.

While the American Gaming Association (AGA) opposes the legislation, citing a desire to reduce government intervention. The AGA has been lobbying for the elimination of the federal sports betting excise tax. Supporters of the GRIT Act argue that a federal program could enhance the effectiveness and cost of state-responsible gaming programs, which currently vary in quality and oversight.

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) stands in full support of the GRIT Act, recognizing its potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and families across the nation. The organization also acknowledges the leadership and assistance of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling in the introduction of this crucial legislation.



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